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Jefferson Jackson Dinner - Dems rise to the challenge of access
L to R: Calloway Dem Chair David Ramey, Jack Rose, AG Andy Beshear, Danny Hudspeth. Rose and Hudspeth shared the Zee Enix Democrat of the Year award.

You had to be motivated to get into the Purchase Area Jefferson Jackson Dinner this past Friday evening. Visitors from around the region arrived on the Murray State University campus to find the parking lot of the Curris Center torn up and blocked off.

Murray State is revamping the building to accommodate a Chick-fil-A site before the full semester before classes begin on August 20th. Budgeting constraints moved the University to contract out food services and putting in a food court in the student center. Chick-fil-A is just one of the brand names that will be available to students when they return to campus for fall classes.

We got into the building through a loading dock (thank you Calloway County Dem Chair David Ramey). Going through plastic barriers and past the kitchens and dish washers and into a tiny elevator, we arrived at the third floor of a very quiet Curris Center. Others walked down a long series of stairs after parking in an adjacent parking lot.

Despite the difficulties getting into the Curris Center, around three hundred Democrats came to hear their gubernatorial candidate and several candidates on the Democratic slate speak. Shown at left, candidate for governor Andy Beshear spoke on education, fighting opioid abuse, testing rape kits and the lawsuits Attorney General Andy Beshear has been filing against present Governor Matt Bevin.

The Court said that the power to change the education board is within the governor's power and is not an overreach. Governor Bevin is touting the unanimous ruling as a victory over Beshear, calling the suit a waste of taxpayer money. Not so, Beshear told the crowd, the ruling means that when he takes office he can replace Bevin's board members immediately.

After a lively, but not overtly acrimonious, primary, Beshear said that the Democratic Party is united. One of his opponents, Rep. Rocky Adkins, is slated to campaign with Beshear in Eastern Kentucky. Despite losing the primary, Adkins will return the General Assembly as minority leader. He will see a benefit from having someone on the first floor of the Capitol who is willing to work with him.

Other speakers included Michael Bowman, shown at right, who comes to the treasurer's race as a banker. While he didn't see the treasurer's office as particularly high profile, Bowman noted that the Kentucky State Treasurer sits on various financial boards and could have an effect on their decisions.

Sheri Donahue is running against incumbent Mike Harmon who defeated Adam Edelen to win his first term as Auditor. Donahue is an engineer with a degree from Purdue University who has worked in the federal government in cyber security. Her focus will be securing Kentucky's accounts from cyber threats. It is her contention that little has been done at the state level to recognize the threat of hackers.

Candidate for Secretary of State Heather French Henry, shown below, chose to concentrate her time on patriotism, reminding the audience that June 14th is Flag Day.

A feature of the Dinner, hosted by the Calloway County Democratic Committee is the award of the Zee Enix Democrat of the Year Award. Enix, a fixture in Kentucky Democratic politics, passed away in May, 2019.

This year, two Calloway Countians shared the award- former Mayor Jack Rose and Murray City Councilman Danny Hudspeth.

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